Next year, if you fail to make it to a prestigious medical college, don’t lose hope of studying medicine. A leading hospital chain is all set to offer India’s first MBBS programme through distance education. It has been reported that sources in the Medical Council of India which regulates medical education in the country have revealed that Max Healthcare and US-based Ocenia University have been in regular touch with MCI over the issue of distance MBBS programme and that their proposal is in the final stage of approval. Ocenia University offers online and distance medical programmes in the US and will help Max structure the course. So far, only a few distance paramedical programmes are on offer in India by open universities like IGNOU as MCI is yet to approve online and distance programme in medicine. Since MBBS courses need a lot of hands-on training, distance courses were thought to be unviable. The course and curriculum that Max plans to offer would be as per MCI guidelines and the mode of delivery would be similar to the Ocenia University programmes. The theory part would be conducted in distance mode with interactive Internet tools. The practicals would be conducted on campus at various functional and upcoming Max Healthcare hospitals. Max Healthcare would be upgrading its six hospitals in the National Capital Region to 4,000 beds within three years, sources said.